Tag Archive for Digital Slurry

Morning Links: No Carmageddon on Venice Blvd, auto-centric capitalism, and four-wheeled scofflaw cyclists

Yesterday, I wasted far too much of my life.

Hours, in fact, that I will undoubtedly regret on my dying day, trying in vain to defend the Mar Vista and Playa del Rey lane reductions, both here and on Twitter.

And yes, I should know better.

But I’m a firm believer in engaging with people of all viewpoints, in hopes that I can correct inaccurate beliefs, and that I might learn something from them. And maybe, just maybe, we could come to some kind of a consensus.

Hopes that were quickly dashed on the rubble heaps of online discourse.

The best one, by far, was a comment from someone complaining that traffic backups caused by the Venice Blvd Great Streets project had pushed cut-through drivers onto the surrounding side streets. So he insisted that since the project included bike lanes, bike riders should be licensed and taxed to mitigate the problems caused by… drivers.

Uh, sure.

However, the primary argument cited by virtually everyone opposed to the projects was the accusation of soul crushing traffic congestion causing total gridlock and destroying the vehicular lifeblood of the communities.

But as the song says, it ain’t necessarily so.

Yesterday, we included a bike cam video made by Jon Phillips as he rode on Culver Blvd through Play del Rey, showing almost no congestion during the evening rush hour. Though as we noted, that was just one trip, and another journey at another time might have shown something different.

John Montgomery thought of that.

The author of the excellent Digital Slurry website, he set out to explore traffic on Venice Blvd following the lane reductions, and made a point of riding at different times of day, and on multiple days, to get a feeling of what traffic is really like on the street.

What he found was similar to what Phillips found on Culver. Traffic did back up at times, but it started flowing again once the light changed. And at least part of the problem appeared to stem from poor synchronization of traffic lights.

But don’t take his word for it. Or mine.

Read his report and watch the videos, whether the full 14 minute version, or the three minute highlight reel.

And decide for yourself is this is really the return of Carmageddon.

Which turned out to be no big deal, either.

………

Montgomery also forwarded this screen shot from the North Venice Beach Nextdoor, giving what may be the single most bizarrely auto-centric and capitalistic perspective ever on using a bicycle for transportation.

Meanwhile, the other argument used anytime the subject of bicycling comes up is the accusation that bike riders don’t deserve equal treatment on the streets because we all break the law anyway.

So he set out to record those scofflaw cyclists in action.

And this is what he found.

………

Sad news from Iran, where a 19-year old member of the national women’s cycling team was killed in a car crash.

Next month’s Colorado Classic four-stage race is attempting to reinvent pro cycling by charging a fee to participate in a music festival and view the final two stages.

Cyclists participating in Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix will race backwards in pursuit of a total $21,500 purse.

……….

Local

LADOT has selected a new polymer color treatment for green bike lanes that was developed in conjunction with the film industry. Because Hollywood should always have the last word when it comes to traffic safety.

REI will open their first flagship store in LA County next month, taking over an old Sports Authority location in Burbank.

A Pasadena bike rider stole a 64-year old man’s backpack, then discarded it after rifling through it and stealing two beers. Let’s at least hope they were crappy beers.

West Covina is hosting a community open house – workshop tonight to discuss the city’s proposed Active Transportation Master Plan.

The Santa Monica Lookout talks with the rest of the SaMo city council about how they go carfree at least part of the time; the first part of the story appeared on Monday.

The rich get richer. Construction will begin on Monday on another east-west bike boulevard in bike friendly Long Beach.

 

State

Pink’s seven-month old son is one of us, too.

A Simi Valley bike tour operator could be out of business after thieves stole over $25,000 worth of high-end mountain bikes out of his garage.

San Diego is looking for people to adopt one of the city’s 54 largely abandoned bike and pedestrian counters.

Lompoc is experimenting with closing streets to cars for a weekly Friday evening market, while the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition gave dozens of kids refurbished bicycles to take advantage of it.

A DUI hit-and-run driver faces up to ten years in prison after pleading guilty in the death a Watsonville cyclist last year; she was also texting at the time of the crash, as well as driving with a suspended license.

San Francisco’s Public Works Department will enforce a proposed ban on bike chop shops, rather than the police. Because why would you want to arrest anyone for trafficking in stolen bikes and parts?

Dockless bikeshare is getting closer to LA, as Spin is moving into South San Francisco after colonizing Seattle.

No justice for the Sacramento running legend who was hit by a bicyclist on a river pathway, because prosecutors aren’t sure if California’s hit-and-run statutes apply to bikes ridden on trails instead of streets. Here’s a crazy idea: File charges and let a judge decide if the law applies. Because that’s what they do.

 

National

Most US students can legally drive a car before they’re old enough to legally ride a bikeshare bike, even though a bikeshare membership can be provided for a fraction of the cost of busing them to school. We should be encouraging students to ride any kind of bicycle rather than clogging the roads with more buses and cars. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson and David Drexler for the heads-up.

Streetsblog says autonomous cars should have to rely on their own sensors, rather than forcing bicyclists and pedestrians to wear sensors to avoid getting run over.

If you ride offroad, book your trip to Oregon now, where they’ve just opened a 668-mile singletrack course that covers the entire state.

A Colorado Republican legislator is shocked that anyone was shocked that he proposed taxing bicycles.

A generous Milwaukee man bought a stolen bike for $20 to return it to its owner after she posted the theft on Facebook.

A university website profiles MIT emeritus professor David Gordon Wilson, author of Bicycle Science, which they call the industry bible for bike design.

Talk about getting Vision Zero wrong. After a New York cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run, the NYPD responds by cracking down on bike riders, rather than the people in the big dangerous machines. Thanks again to Mike Wilkinson.

A proposed New York state law would require all bicyclists in New York City to wear bike helmets, including users of the Citi Bike bikeshare — even though there’s only been one fatality, and just 50 injuries requiring medical attention, in over 43 million Citi Bike rides. The real question is why the law would only apply to NYC; evidently, no one else in the state has heads worth protecting.

After a kindhearted South Carolina cop fails to recover a boy’s stolen bicycle, he buys him a new one.

A group of three boys and two girls in their early teens have been arrested for beating and stomping a 19-year old Orlando man, stealing his bike and sandals, and throwing away his groceries.

 

International

Bike Radar offers advice for how to manage riding during your period. Assuming you have one, of course.

The war on bikes continues, as a Canadian jogger stepped on a nail-filled board concealed on a bike trail.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker says that no matter what the safety issue, bike-hating commenters always shift the blame to cyclists. Which is exactly what’s happening in Mar Vista and Play del Rey, and pretty much everywhere else in Southern California; more proof that cyclists face the same issues virtually everywhere.

Caught on video: A British bike rider is shown riding through a red light as cars turn into his lane. No, seriously. Don’t do that.

After a 91-year old English man was killed in a collision while participating in a time trial, the proposed solution is banning bikes from divided highways, rather than expecting people to actually pay attention when they drive.

A 15-year old Irish boy received a twelve-month sentence for bashing another boy over the head with a board to steal his bicycle, on top of the eight-month sentence he’s currently serving for threatening to kill someone else. Along with his previous 24 convictions. Did I mention he’s only 15?

Caught on video too: An Irish cyclist gets doored; notice the driver not rushing to his aid.

World Bicycle Relief has distributed 78,000 bicycles in Zimbabwe after a 2010 New York Times story about a then 17-year old man who longed for a bike instead of walking nine miles to school.

The Guardian says cycling campaigns focusing on women and girls are changing the dynamics on African roads.

More Malaysian office workers are choosing to bike to work.

An Aussie writer says drivers in Western Australian can’t handle the concept of an Idaho Stop Law.

 

Finally…

No, Graeme Obree is not a fictional character. Now you, too can ride a modern take on a commie bike.

And now you won’t have to choose between a Bianchi and a Ferrari.

 

Morning Links: Honked at for riding sharrows, Vision Zero lost in Mobility Plan fallout, and upcoming bike events

Digital Slurry offers video evidence of what we already know.

Many drivers just don’t get sharrows.

And don’t have a lot of patience when they find a bike riding legally in front of them, regardless of whether there’s a picture of a bike with an oversized pointy hat painted on the street.

His bike cam video was shot while riding in Venice. But anyone who has ridden on sharrows in Hollywood, or most anywhere else in LA, has probably had the same experience.

Meanwhile, On My Bike LA offers a video response to Bruce Feldman’s Op-ed in the LA Times complaining about the Mobility Plan.

………

The big news this week was the announcement of LA’s Vision Zero to eliminate traffic fatalities in just the next 10 years.

Or at least, it should have been.

*crickets*

Instead, everyone still seems to be shocked! shocked! that LA would possibly consider removing traffic lanes in order to improve mobility. Let alone safety.

At least the LA Times has remained rational, turning the new Mobility Plan into a very cool interactive map that allows you explore the road changes proposed as part of the plan.

The Los Feliz Ledger, on the other hand, says everyone was taken by surprise by the passage of the plan, even though it had a four year public process — even longer of you count the 2010 bike plan, which was incorporated into it — along with a dedicated website and 20 public meetings.

Then again, 91.4% of Angelenos couldn’t even be bothered to vote in the last election, never mind actually get involved in a process that will shape our streets and city for the next 20 years.

Seriously, if you don’t get involved with your own local government, who’s fault is that?

………

Time to catch up on upcoming bike events.

Metro is offering more free bike safety classes throughout the LA region this weekend.

Join the Eastside Bike Club to walk or bike this Saturday to trace the footsteps of LA’s first settlers.

A memorial ride will be held in Huntington Beach this Saturday to remember fallen cyclist and hit-and-run victim Michael Vega.

Bike riders are invited to join the Inland Empire Biking Alliance and Caltrans to ride the Santa Ana River Trail on Saturday to show the need to finish the trail.

Bike SGV is hosting the last bike train of the summer this Sunday starting at Santa Fe Dam.

The LACBC’s September Sunday Funday Ride rolls through Long Beach, with a 25-mile guided tour of parks, lagoons and universities.

Metro’s new El Monte Bike Hub — the first of what will hopefully be many throughout the region — has its grand opening on September 14th.

Pedal for Parkinson’s will raise funds to support Parkinson’s research in Solano Beach on September 27th.

Bike SGV is hosting a family friendly ride back to the 1920s in El Monte on October 3rd.

………

Johan Esteban Chaves took his second stage of the Vuelta on Thursday to move back into the leader’s jersey. After getting booted from the race for hanging onto a team car to rejoin the peloton, Vincenzo Nibali is barred from racing anywhere else until the Vuelta is over.

Meanwhile, Peter Sagan is taking aim at next month’s worlds in Richmond, Virginia once he’s done with the Vuelta, where every stage seems to have his name on it.

Domestic cycling teams complain about the strong-arm tactics of the WorldTour teams at the recent USA Pro Challenge.

And here’s someone to keep an eye on, as a Del Mar track cyclist wins four silver medals at the USA Cycling Elite and Junior Track National Championships.

Especially since she’s just a nine-year old fourth grader.

………

Local

A Santa Barbara podcast discusses itineraries for touring Los Angeles car-free by foot, bike and public transportation.

The LA Weekly looks at the Spoke Café along the LA River bike path in Frogtown, and its owners’ struggles to get city permits to sell their own food and beer.

 

State

Calbike offers their monthly update, including news that they have a fleet of shaft-drive bikes to sell, along with the company that made them. Anyone want to start a Kickstarter so I can buy a bike company? Didn’t think so.

Santa Ana is opening three Bike Huts to provide secure bicycle parking safe from thieves and the elements.

The San Diego Free Press says the region’s transportation plan is stuck in reverse.

In the wake of the San Diego “bike mob” that chased down an angry hit-and-run driver, BikeSD explains what sharrows are, and how to deal with a road raging driver. And no, shooting them in self defense is not an option.

Coronado’s apoplectic NIMBY attack on a proposed beach bike path goes on… and on. Seriously, people, it’s just a bike path.

UC Santa Barbara had to pay out of their own pockets through student fees to build a bike roundabout to improve a dangerous intersection.

No bias here. After a San Francisco bike rider suffers a life-threatening head injury in a right hook, a local TV station says he tried to overtake the car on the right.

Now this I want to see. Folsom, home to the prison made famous by Johnny Cash, is planning eight public art works honoring the legendary Man in Black along the bike path named for him.

An Auburn driver gets four years for the death of a bike rider while under the influence of Vicodin; he pled no contest after the original charge of murder was taken off the table.

 

National

Huffy recalls some of their bicycle shaped objects that have front disc brakes to replace the quick release.

Never a good idea to steal a bike from a gang called Satan Disciples; the theft by another gang led to the fatal shooting of a 17-year old in Chicago.

A Minnesota bike rider says it’s okay to go through a red light, even though it is illegal, if you scan the intersection for safety and go slowly if the way is clear.

Evidently, they take hit-and-run seriously in Michigan; a driver faces up to 15 years for failing to stop, after killing a nurse who was riding across the state as part of a group ride.

Ford says they want to be known as a mobility company, not a car maker, as they unveil their new e-bike in Louisville KY.

After the bike a 10-year old Connecticut girl got for her 10th birthday was stolen, the police dispatchers who took the call pitch in to replace it.

A bike riding writer for New York Magazine says the solution to the city’s rude, spandex-clad cyclists is to build more protected bike lanes.

Caught on video: A Philadelphia mom riding with her kids on a cargo bike is verbally harassed by a driver for going around a pickup parked in the bike lane. If the jerk was so concerned about her kids, maybe he shouldn’t have taught them so many four-letter words.

Removing a traffic lane from a Charleston bridge to make room for bike lanes could actually result in less delay, while allowing the bridge to function at acceptable levels for decades.

If New Orleans can become bike friendly, so can Shreveport.

 

International

Buenos Aires is banning most motor vehicle traffic from 100 blocks of the city’s downtown area.

A Canadian advocate explains why bike helmet laws don’t work.

Ontario drivers will now face fines of at least $490 for distracted driving, and $365 for dooring a bike rider, although cyclists will be fined $110 for riding without lights.

An Ottawa university professor files a $1 million lawsuit after being doored by someone in a car owned by the Japanese Embassy.

British bicyclists are being taken down by potholes and crumbling roads. Sort of like what LA bike riders deal with on a regular basis.

London’s Evening Standard looks at tech solutions to bike theft.

A Canadian writer takes a death-defying two-wheeled tour of Copenhagen while on a business trip,

 

Finally…

Wait. You mean that picture of a bike rider with an oversized pointy hat actually means something? Your could soon lock your bike to a rack made from a forest of flexible poles that won’t chip your paint, as long as you’re okay with having it stolen.

And if you really want to confuse one of Google’s self-driving cars, do a track stand. And if you want to confuse a writer for the Washington Post, point out that people on bikes with gears can do them. too. Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

 

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